CHANDIGARH: The detention of Mr. Surjan Singh Thekedar, a former President of the Akali Dal and a senior UAD leader, under the National Security Act was set aside by Mr. Justice S.D. Bajaj of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Akali leader who is at present detained at Tiruchirrapalli (Tamil Nadu) was ordered to be set free forthwith.

The order was handed down in a criminal writ petition filed by Mr. Kanwalinder Singh, a son of Mr. Thekedar. The impugned order of detention was passed by the: State of Punjab on May 28, 1988 when he was in Burail Jail in a case under Section 107/151.

Mr. HS. Mattewal and Mr. Sukhdev Singh, counsel for the petitioner argued that all grounds supplied to the detainee were a “sham” since no case was ever registered against the Akali leader ‘on the basis of those allegations. Therefore, the detention of Mr Thekedar was mala fide.

Mr. Mattewal further pleaded that the detention order was also violate of Article 22(5) of the Constitution as the material facts and documents concerning the allegation that Mr. Thekedar along Mr. HLS. Bedi, Additional Advocate General. Defended the detention order and submitted that Cases were not registered as no one was likely to give evidence against the detainee. Even if cases were not registered, there was no bar on the passing of a detention order under the N.S.A. Mr. Bedi said on the basis of certain allegations the detainee could get a long prison term. The Judge quipped: “Then why have you not registered a single case? How can you get conviction without registering a case?”

Article extracted from this publication >>  February 3, 1989